Filter blockages in a beer production process can cause serious problems for breweries which can include increased expenditure on replacement filter cartridges and a significant amount of downtime in the production process while filters are removed and replaced.
A large independent brewery which was employing sterile filtration to achieve microbial stability was using BEVPOR BR filters in the filtration of a new beer product – but was experiencing multiple filter blockages. Parker Bioscience Filtration’s Technical Support Group (TSG) has specialist expertise in supporting breweries and were called in to investigate the brewery's filter blockage problem.
So what caused the problem?
The beer initially achieved good throughput. However, the filters began to block prematurely.
TSG provided a range of support to the customer, including:
- Filterability trials to optimize the filtration train being used.
- Analysis of blocked cartridges.
- Site audits/process analysis.
- Advice on cleaning (CIP) of the filters.
Working as a true partner of the customer, Parker was able to identify the problem: namely an increase of the protein content of the beer.
The Parker TSG team worked closely with the brewery to provide an effective solution.
Once the elevated protein content was identified, the brewery was able to implement changes to their process which saw the filterability of the product increase to over three times the original value.
The TSG team also provided the brewery with filter integrity testing training on Parker Bioscience Filtration’s BEVCHECK PLUS integrity testing unit, which monitors the condition of critical membrane filter systems. This portable unit uses compressed gas to accurately measure the pressure decay or diffusional flow of test filters, returning either a pass or fail result indicating if the filter system is fit for purpose.
It’s easy to blame the filters…
When blockages occur, it may be easy for brewers to question the quality of the filters they are using, or they may come to simply accept a short filter lifespan and the associated implications for operational costs.
However, by engaging with a specialist team – such as that provided by Parker Bioscience Filtration’s TSG – it may be possible to detect an underlying problem (such as a change in the beer product being filtered) and implement changes which ensure that the sterile filtration process works effectively and that costs and downtime are reduced.
This post was contributed by Ian Curran, market development manager, Parker Bioscience Filtration, United Kingdom.
Parker Bioscience Filtration offers filtration solutions to protect the quality and taste of beverage products. By working with our application experts, manufacturers can develop a tailored solution to ensure their beverage is free from contamination, full of flavour and visibly clear.